Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
2 Aug

K2: So Much More Than Sports Equipment

We’re not talking about snowboards and ski gear. Though it’s not the “first” vitamin K, vitamin K2 is hardly the first loser. Do you know about this essential ingredient for good health? Read on!

Vitamin K, in all its forms, is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps to protect your cardiovascular system (among several heart-related benefits, K may help to keep calcium out of your arteries). K also plays a role in bone health, something our osteoporosis-riddled nation certainly needs to work on. You need vitamin K for proper blood clotting, too. So, you could say it’s important! Fortunately, K is uber-prevalent in healthy foods, so you don’t have to supplement if you’re following a sensible diet. K the First is present in plants, while K2 is found in fermented foods and… your gut. (Remember, you have your very own fermentation factory in your gastrointestinal tract!)

Think about it: heavy use of antibiotics and excessive consumption of carbohydrates destroy beneficial bacteria in your gut. Hmm…why on earth do we have such obscene rates of heart disease and osteoporosis? A K-deficit can even disrupt insulin function! It’s one more reason why switching to a healthy diet is so critical for Americans.

This week’s Smart Fuel focuses on the best food sources of vitamin K2. Nearly every vegetable contains K the First, so if you’re eating plenty of plants (you know, those green things), you’re getting all your body requires and then some. Though it’s worth noting that you cannot possibly hope to overdose on K the First, you don’t need it in a daily multivitamin because the body stores it so efficiently. K2 is a little bit harder to get, but you can easily meet your K2 needs by eating fermented foods a few times a month. If your own body isn’t having a productive time of it (because of reduced immunity, hormonal imbalances, a run or twenty with antibiotics, or a friendly-bacteria deficit), you’ll want to do the following. Heck, do them regardless!

1. Eat enough fat (K is a fat-soluble vitamin)! Make sure you eat beneficial fats at every meal, and consider supplementing with fish oil.

2. Take probiotics if you’re dealing with any of the above parenthetical health issues. You only need to do this briefly, however.

3. Fuel up: eat fermented foods! These contain K2 in abundance (and fermented foods are just generally excellent for your health anyway).

Here are a few fermenty favorites:

Tempeh

tempeh

Flickr Photo (CC)

Note: though Mark doesn’t espouse something as extreme as veganism, many vegetable proteins are very healthy. Tempeh is a very smart meat alternative that is chewy and delicious – it’s great for vegetarians and meatatarians alike.

Natto

natto

Flickr Photo (CC)

Note: go with brown rice or grilled chicken instead of white rice! Soy phobes: fermented soy products like natto and tempeh do not contain phytic acid.

Tahini paste

tahiniandkale

Note: tahini makes a great sauce for vegetables. Thin it with water and lemon to make a terrific salad dressing, as shown.

Further reading:

More Smart Fuel Posts

Most Popular Posts

Healthy Recipes

Mark’s Carb Pyramid

Sources:

The definitive book about K2 (Amazon)

All about vitamin K (Medline)

K2 and osteoporosis (Pubmed)

Even more about K (Mercola)

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You want comments? We got comments:

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  1. “Take probiotics if you’re dealing with any of the above parenthetical health issues. You only need to do this briefly, however.”

    Why not take probiotics all the time? Whether dealing with a health issue or nut?

    Oxybeles wrote on August 2nd, 2007
  2. Once the “good” bacteria are thoroughly in your system (for most people about two-three weeks), they reproduce on their own. You can save your cash! ;)

    Sara wrote on August 2nd, 2007
  3. Thanks!!!!

    One learns something here everyday!

    Oxybeles wrote on August 2nd, 2007
  4. My pleasure, Oxy! ;)

    Sara wrote on August 2nd, 2007
  5. The vitamin stuff suggested sounds great.Vitamin Shoppe at http://www.vitamin-shoppe.org adds to sound health.

    Rachel wrote on August 3rd, 2007
  6. You don’t want to buy those things from online discounters. They are usually discounted/old vitamins that are resold after sitting in storage for years. They are not the highest technology or even reliable.

    Mike wrote on August 3rd, 2007
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    veisteNew wrote on November 1st, 2007
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    Atikocu wrote on November 16th, 2011
  24. These things look delicious. I do eat a lot of vegetables, but I wasn’t even aware of a K vitamin, and how much our body need it.
    I’m a passionate snowboarder, and need a lot of energy during the winter, so eating a lot of veggies does help me. It’s shame that it’s so hard to get to fresh and nice vegetables during the winter.

    Peter wrote on May 1st, 2012
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    hakan yıldız wrote on February 26th, 2013
  28. One thing I would like to comment on is that weightloss routine fast is possible by the appropriate diet and exercise. A person’s size not simply affects appearance, but also the general quality of life. Self-esteem, depressive disorders, health risks, and physical skills are influenced in an increase in weight. It is possible to just make everything right and at the same time having a gain. If this happens, a problem may be the primary cause. While an excessive amount food and not enough exercising are usually responsible, common medical ailments and widely used prescriptions can easily greatly help to increase size. Thanks for your post here.

    Randall Hoque wrote on July 20th, 2013
  29. I was drinking water from a cistern caught from a hillside unfiltered(theres my probiotics), and eating tempah like 4 times a week on this farm i was at over the summer.. i had two small cavities heal, and my psoriasis went away.. Also, organ meats, bugs, small fish whole(sardines), also great source of K2.

    the other thing i was doing while out there was more or less eating all day, this allowed a constant stream of material for those bacteria to do their thing on, eating 3 meals a day, i’m quite skeptical about creating the environment they require to flourish.

    Davey wrote on October 18th, 2013
  30. Thanks a nice information.

    ilk Full Film izle wrote on February 2nd, 2014

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